StartUp Founders: Friction Kills. Marie Kondo It.

March 10, 2024 2 mins read
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Dear Reader,

Founders’ obsession with speed is akin to a squirrel on espresso – hyperactive and directionless. You don’t want speed, you want velocity: momentum in the right direction. For founders, before the user journey, before the wireframes, before the before, comes the 5 pillars of the user journey. (𝕏 Tweet)

TLDR; Marie Kondo your app. Barriers to usage often come from prioritizing company wants over user needs or value. Friction kills.


1.8 StartUp Founders: Create Lovers Not Users. Even in V1.


Every unnecessary barrier, every overlooked user need, is a missed opportunity to win (to convert). The gold is converting the beans already in your funnel, vs finding new beans to hid your failures.

Iterating your solution in your head through critical thinking is free. The more you go through it, repeat it, visualize it, think about it, talk about it, the more you do before you do, asking why to literally everything, the more likely you are to build into value.

Just get the user to the destination as clean and clear as humanely possible, that’s it.

The 5 Pillars: Onboarding, Data In, Product Value, Output, and Measurement – are the foundations of the user journey. A chance to evaluate your app’s purpose, impact, and success metrics at every stage to the right and left of your solution. Clarity before you drill.

This workbook might help you thinking about thinking:

SU001.9 The 5 Pillars aka Empathetic Thinking by James Sinclair

Embrace the iterative process, the constant challenging, root it in real user feedback (direct and indirect) to help get closer to product-market fit. Examination of every single step, fighting for the user towards genuine value.

  • Do you really need all those questions in onboarding?
  • Do you really need the user to upload branding when you could grab it for them?
  • Do you really need to bombard users with all features at once, or can you introduce them gradually?

Just ask whether every feature, every step, every gate, every requirement genuinely serves the user or merely satisfies a perceived internal need. Are you truly user-centric, or are you projecting your own assumptions onto your users?

Question everything. Fight for the user. This is what differentiates successful startups from those that never understand why their app didn’t catch on.

As always, you are welcome to grab time with me.

Good luck.

— James

(LinkedIn | Twitter | Tiktok)​

StartUp Founders: Create Lovers Not Users. Even in V1. Next: StartUp Founders: Beyond The Billions
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